Renée Ramirez
Renée Ramirez
Panama, 2022-2023
My name is Renée and I’m spending a year in Panamá working with Fundación Calicanto. Calicanto is a Panamanian organization combatting gender-based violence through social and economic empowerment programs. I’m a Nashville girl and graduated from Belmont in 2021 with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Economics. This is such a privilege, thanks for following along! Read More About Renée →


It is almost July! How crazy is that? June has been a busy month for me. I have been helping out my team by taking photos at our in-person events which has been fun and an additional way to add value. Recently I have been structuring my work days around when I am most productive, spending time cooking elaborate dinners with friends and feeling more confident in my Spanish and place here. Life isn’t perfect, but I am cruising and very grateful!

  • CAPTA 61 Graduation!
  • Cooking weekly dinners with friends
  • Starting Spanish lessons (again)
  • The breakfast burrito of my dreams!

Current Projects
I am juggling two projects with Calicanto right now. The first one is designing a permanent process to collect success stories for the foundation. Up to this point, we’ve interviewed our alumni sporadically, sharing their stories here and there in our communication efforts. Because of the recent codification of our follow-up process, incorporating a plan and timeline to collect our alumni’s stories is not only natural but pretty seamless. It has been a matter of designing the structure of our interviews, revising the questions we’re asking to ensure that we are telling their story with integrity, and then plugging it into the follow-up process. I have been using Miro in my work a lot recently as it lends itself really well to the design thinking process + helps me visualize and structure my work. Hoping to have this project finished by end of this week!
The second project I am working on is designing a client intake and registration process for our online CAPTA program. We are working to market our main empowerment course to Panamanian businesses + employers as a workforce development program. This will make our program more accessible while providing an additional revenue stream for the foundation. I have enjoyed the technical aspects of this particular project because it is a combination of business and nonprofit development which is my niche! Have been developing a lot of demos, preparing to start the customer discovery process, and mapping out our client experience. This type of work brings me a lot of joy and reminds me of my Entrepreneurship classes at Belmont which was such a fun time in my life ❤️.

Something New
I started one on one Spanish lessons last week! I have a lifelong foundation in Spanish but identified recently that not feeling confident communicating in a professional context was holding me back and impacting the quality of my work.  I’ve kind of missed the student lifestyle and have enjoyed the structure of studying and class. My teacher was super impressed that I knew so many irregular verbs (ha) which is ALL thanks to my mom drilling them into my brain as a kid. I already feel more confident as I speak and am excited to improve. Every now and then, my brain revolts and there are days when I just can’t structure sentences well or only want to be around my American friends. Spanish has been a life-long learning process for me and one that I have become even more committed to since moving to Panama. I’ve put in too much work at this point to stop, so time to level up once again!

Something I’ve Learned
I have been reading “Liturgy of the Ordinary” by Tish Harrison Warren recently. Inspired by the 30 years of normal life that Jesus lived before starting his official ministry on earth, she communicates so clearly the type of Christian spirituality that I want to participate in. One that sees being faithful in my daily responsibilities as honoring to God, one that values being present and attentive to the needs and people in front of me over “doing big things for God”, one that accepts human limits instead of constantly striving to do, be, or get more, and one that accepts and loves people for who they are today, not who they will be, or how I might benefit from them in the future. I’ve loved sitting on my patio at night with a cup of mint tea and gingersnaps and reading this book. It has been such a breath of fresh air.

Something I’m Grateful for
I am really grateful to live close-ish to the beach. I have gotten into the habit of driving an hour every weekend to surf which has been really life-giving! Just getting out of the city is refreshing to me and then getting to surf and hang with friends at beautiful beaches in Panama is such a dream. A couple of weeks ago my friend Haley and I met up around 5 am, had coffee and the BEST breakfast burritos, and then drove to Chame to try to catch some waves (she caught them, I just practiced getting bodied by the waves and not dying haha). This last weekend I went surfing with some friends and then to a skate festival which was fun! I’ve really been enjoying being a part of this little community here.

Something I am looking forward to
My little brother who is much, much bigger than me is arriving on Sunday and I am SO excited. We’re really close and I can’t wait to show him my life here. I have a huge list of things I want to do with him, places to go, and people for him to meet. Can’t wait to see what he thinks of Panama.
Thanks for reading, I hope you’re doing well!


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